Garden centre supermarket plan withdrawn

A plan for a joint Van Hage garden centre and Waitrose supermarket at Ware, Hertfordshire, has been withdrawn - but will be resubmitted later.

East Herts Council said the item had been withdrawn from the planning meeting agenda, scheduled for 16 September.

Van Hage and Waitrose had planned a joint development, which had been recommended for refusal.

East Herts Council said: "Van Hage Garden Company Ltd in Great Amwell has withdrawn their planning application that was due to be discussed at tonight’s development control meeting (Wed Sep 16). As a result, the matter will not be considered by the committee. The applicant has indicated that they would like a further opportunity to present proposals – so they may submit a further application at a later date."

The application was for "part demolition and refurbishment of existing garden centre with cafe extension, erection of foodstore (approx 2,047 sqm net sales) with cafe and external seating, extended service road, new roundabout from Amwell Hill and other associated highways, servicing and landscaping works".

There were 35 submitted objections and six supporters to the plan.

Planners recommended refusal because: "The application site lies within the Metropolitan Green Belt as defined in the East Hertfordshire Local Plan wherein permission will not be given except in very special circumstances for development for purposes other than those required for mineral extraction, agriculture, small scale facilities for participatory sport and recreation or other uses appropriate to a rural area.

"The proposal would result in harm to the openness of the Green Belt and the rural character of the site conflicting with the purposes of including the land within the Green Belt. The proposal is therefore inappropriate development and compounded by additional harm to the Green Belt and other planning harm.

"The very special circumstances required which would clearly outweigh the planning harm are not considered to exist in this case. The proposal would therefore be contrary to policy GBC1 of the East Herts Local Plan Second Review April 2007 and national planning guidance in section 9 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

"There is no identified short or medium term need for new convenience retail development in the district as a whole or within this part of the district. The proposed out of town development will be likely to result in significant adverse impacts on the existing town centres of Hertford, Ware and Hoddesdon. There is a sequentially preferable option for town centre development in Hertford Town Centre and the retail impacts of a grant of planning permission at the application site would be harmful to the vitality and viability of existing town centres. The proposal is therefore contrary to local plan policy STC1 and STC6 of the East Herts Local Plan Second Review April 2007 and national planning guidance in section 2 of the National Planning Policy Framework. 3/15/0149/FP 

"The proposed development by its location, layout and content is unable to, and fails to encourage, the use of sustainable transport modes i.e walking, cycling, passenger transport. It would increase the need and demand for private car use and would result in the provision of essential shopping services in a location hard to access for some sections of society. The proposed development is thereby considered to represent an unsustainable form of development, contrary to Policies SD1, SD2, TR1, TR4 and TR12 of the East Herts Local Plan Second Review April 2007 and national planning guidance in section 4 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

"In the absence of adequate mitigation for sustainable transport modes and a well-developed and persuasive Green Travel Plan strategy the local planning authority cannot be satisfied the development would not result in unacceptable impacts on the safe and convenient use of the public highway. The proposed development is thereby contrary to Policies TR4 and TR7 of the East Herts Local Plan Second Review April 2007."

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